UPDATE: Bure Valley Railway crash photo shows narrow escape
PUBLISHED: 10:54 01 June 2011 | UPDATED: 11:58 01 June 2011
A woman passenger had a narrow escape after a train carriage’s wheels thrust up through the floor and into her seat in a north Norfolk derailment, as this photo shows.
Witness Edwin Rose described the moment the accident happened during a busy bank holiday afternoon on the Bure Valley Railway at Brampton.
“I was sitting in the first carriage and could see through to the second carriage. I saw wheels crash up through the floor of the carriage.
“A woman was sitting directly above the wheels and her husband saw them coming up and lifted her out of the way with a fraction of a second to spare,” said Mr Rose, 61, a retired archaeologist from Reepham.
Another passenger, Claire Canham, took this photo of the stricken carriage which clearly reveals how the wheels forced themselves into the compartment and under the woman’s seat.
Around 50 passengers were on the train when the front of it derailed at 3.25pm. No-one was injured and services were back to normal on Tuesday when staff from the Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) were due to visit the scene of the incident.
Mr Rose added that after the crash, about 20 to 30 people had walked along the footpath, including a man pushing his disabled son in a wheelchair.
“When we reached a crossing a lorry stopped and offered the man and his disabled son a ride to Aylsham,” Mr Rose said.
Mrs Canham, of Beech Close, Wymondham, was on board with her two children, Zoe aged five, two-year-old Jack, and her parents.
She said: “We were in the fifth carriage when it happened and just saw pebbles flying out from under the train and there was a bad smell, along with the screeching sound of the brakes as we came to an abrupt stop.
She described the smell as strong and smoky, “which instantly made you aware that something wasn’t quite right.
“We then looked out of the window to find bits of metal laying on the track that had come off the train and also to see the carriage derailed up ahead.” It had remained upright, with only the front half off the tracks.
“We were told that it was a good two-mile walk back to Aylsham station and we could either walk back or wait, but they didn’t know how long this would be.”
The family walked most of the way back and then Mrs Canham’s father went back to Aylsham station to collect the car.
Andrew Tunwell, general manager with the narrow-gauge railway, said he had been advised by the RAIB and the Office of Rail Regulation not to comment further on the accident until inquiries had been completed.
An RAIB spokesman said they would be carrying out a preliminary examination to help inspectors decide whether they needed to carry out a full investigation.
Mr Tunwell added: “We want to say sorry to our passengers. Once we had established that no one was hurt, our main concern was make sure that everybody got back OK to where they needed to be.
“We were overwhelmed by people being very pleasant and nice to us which was quite heartening.
“You could understand people being very disappointed but a lot of them came and said how sorry they were to see what had happened and hoped everything would be all right.”
The Bure Valley Railway is Norfolk’s longest 15-inch gauge line and runs between Aylsham and Wroxham, with stations at Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall. It was opened in 1990.